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Designer of the chosen Y Block proposal hopes to put springs in Springfield

Designer of the chosen Y Block proposal hopes to put springs in Springfield

One year after starting to put together a project proposal, North Mansion Y Block Development's proposal has been chosen by Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder to fill the vacant YWCA block.

"We're bringing five pools and a rill, which is a small, shallow creek which runs from one corner of the block to the other to, in a way, put springs in Springfield," said Don Tracy, the leader of the project.

The proposal is for a park plaza with water features.

It would allow kids to play in jumping fountains in the summer and the center fountain can be used as an outdoor ice rink in the winter.

Already, the city's invested about $2 million on the property.

The chosen proposal, which was designed by North Mansion Y Block Development, will be funded by mainly with privately raised monies.

That's one of the reasons Langfelder went with the park design.

“That does free up dollars that we thought we'd have to spend on that block to then use for a potential housing project elsewhere in downtown Springfield,” Langfelder said. “So, it's in a sense getting both the housing project and the park plaza concept together with the scares dollars that we have."

In addition to fountains, the plan includes a cafe and a natural amphitheater.

It'll be surrounded by a four-foot fence that'll be lined with hedges.

"I think people will be pleasantly surprised with what quality this is going to bring to the downtown," said Architect of Record Paul Wheeler, who is also the president of FWAI Architects.

There's still work left to be done though.

The city is currently working on getting a developer’s agreement put together.

The hope is that plan will make it to city council by the beginning of February.

Building and maintaining the park for 10 years is estimated to have a price tag of $6-8 million.

City officials were hoping to have the Y-block development completed in time for Illinois’ Bicentennial celebrations in August.

They now don't think it'll be done by then.

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